In the few days since we launched the petition asking CDC to update their report about the effectiveness of contraceptive methods and to include up-to-date data about FABMs, we have received tremendous positive response. Over 2,100 people have signed it so far, and we are grateful for them and for the many partner organizations from across the board who are helping spread the word about it. (We hope you will too by posting it on your Facebook page and sharing it with your contacts!)
Here is why the petition is so needed. Currently, on a large scale, women are clearly being discouraged from even considering FABMs as a family planning method by the way these methods are represented on the CDC’s website:
- Bottom of the graphic table among the “least effective” methods
- Tagged with a “24% failure rate” (one chance in four to get pregnant)
This presentation is used over and over in the media and on women’s health websites to “warn” women about the risks of using FABMs.
Imagine the parallel with any other significant medical or pharmaceutical treatment. What would people say if a treatment for a critical health condition such a diabetis or cancer:
- Was available and used by thousands of patients.
- Had been tested over the past 20 years with multiple high-quality medical studies that showed its effectiveness and its total absence of side-effects.
- However, surveys were also done that included a majority of people who didn’t follow the guidelines of the specific treatment.
- These surveys were used by the highest medical authority to claim publicly that all the treatments are ineffective.
- And that caused medical professionals to discount this treatment.
- And as a result, the majority of patients would not be informed about or have access to the treatment.
Can we agree that this would not be fair to patients? In the same way, women are not currently fully informed of their options concerning family planning: namely, a low cost, educational, effective, and healthy method of family planning is so publicly and inaccurately discounted that a majority will not even be able to consider them. What’s also tragic is that some women will suffer serious side effects, such as blood clots which can cause an early death, due to the use of hormonal birth control.
One argument I also hear is that FABMs require patient education, which makes them much less effective. So do many treatment protocols of chronic diseases. As I wrote in this blog article: motivation, education, and couple collaborations are all required to achieve the best FABM effectiveness. But all of these are good things, and should be encouraged, not discouraged.
Because of the side-effects of contraceptives, more and more couples are using low-quality methods like the pull out or withdrawal method, or they may use period tracking apps that are well marketed but not really effective. FABMs can be learned at a very low cost, and women of all backgrounds are capable of learning and practicing them effectively.
We’re not suggesting that the CDC is purposefully misleading women. All the petition is asking is to remove the inaccurate representation of FABM effectiveness, which is a barrier to access of a healthy medical protocol, and replace it with an accurate report based on high quality studies of individual methods so that doctors and women can consider FABMs as a serious option.
Please, join us in this campaign, sign the petition if you haven’t, and if you have, share it with others.